Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ep 267: Anushan Jegatheeswaran, Brydon Coverdale (February 24, 2015; originally aired September 6, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: I watched this episode when it first aired, and although I did not recall any of it I cannot rule out memory being a factor.

Anushan is back for his third night, and getting past that has been a bit of a problem for contestants recently.  But before we find out about that, Richard notes that Anushan has "musical inclinations", as he puts it.  Anushan explains that he plays the mridangam -- Richard asks for the name again, and fair enough, too (I'm glad I have transcripts to work from!) -- which is a kind of double-sided drum.  It's a classical Indian instrument, and Anushan has been learning it for about ten years.

Tonight's challenger is Brydon Coverdale, a cricket journalist.  Brydon has been on five tours around the world to watch and cover the cricket; he mentions in particular that he went to the 2011 World Cup earlier that year, which was in India and Sri Lanka.  That was 7 or 8 week's worth, and great fun.  He certainly enjoys his career!

The contestants were very closely matched tonight.  They tied the first three letters rounds, and each one won of the others.  The numbers were similarly close, and the small differences in their results shook out to give Brydon a slender two point lead going into the conundrum.  It was anyone's game to win, but ultimately the conundrum was too difficult for both.  Brydon becomes the new champion, winning 43 to 41.

I had a mental slip in round one that cost me the best answer, but otherwise did pretty well.  The semi-highlight was finding a word (an hour or so after time, mind you) that David did not get.  This week is definitely going much better than last week -- I hope the trend continues!

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: L I D M O F A S E

I had MILD, FILMS, FILMED, and then had a very careless error.  I started to write down MISLEAD, but was mentally pronouncing it as MISLED; I realised that the word I was thinking of was MISLED instead, and did not put it down.  Only later, when David declared MISLEAD, did I realise how silly I had been.  Not the most auspicious start!  After time I did find a seven: FOAMIES (as found by David in episode 442, FOAMIE is "a surfboard made from plastic foam").

The contestants have started with a pair of sixes; Anushan has chosen FOAMED while Brydon has found SAILED.  As intimated earlier, David has avoided my error and found MISLEAD for seven.

The other sevens are MISDEAL / MEDIALS (MEDIAL: "a medial linguistic element", where that second sense of "medial" is "within a word or syllable; neither initial nor final"), AMIDOLS, and MELOIDS (MELOID being a type of beetle).

Anushan: FOAMED
Brydon: SAILED

Scores: 6 apiece

Round 2: W N U T O K I E L

I had TOWN, KNOUT ("a kind of whip or scourge formerly used in Russia for flogging criminals"), UNITE, UNLIKE, rightly rejected TOWNLIKE, and TOWLINE.  After time I noted NUTLIKE as another seven.

Both contestants have done well to find TWINKLE in this mix, and so our scores all remain tied.  David also found TWINKLE, and additionally OUTLINE.

The remaining seven is ELUTION (noun derived from the verb ELUTE: "in chromatography, etc., to remove by dissolving, as absorbed material from an adsorbent").

Anushan: TWINKLE

Scores: 13 apiece

Round 3: Target 321 from 25 2 8 5 9 8

The standard method suggests making this as 13*25 - 4, and I soon had 321 = (8 + 5)*25 - 8/2.  Then, as is my wont, I looked for a solution using small numbers alone.  The target is very near 5*8*8, and a quick tweak gave me the solution that I wanted: 321 = 5*(8*8 + 2) - 9.

Both contestants declare that they have solved this, so we have all the makings of a close game.  However, Anushan has stumbled with the incorrect attempt (8 + 5)*25 + 9 - 8 - 5, which uses the 5 twice.  Brydon has made not mistake, finding the first of the solutions that I listed.  That was also Lily's approach.

So the contestants are separated, although I've yet to manage to get clear of Brydon.

Anushan: [invalid -- wrong answer]
Brydon: 321
Me: 321
Lily: 321

Scores: Anushan 13, Brydon 23, me 23

First break: SINGE OAR ("Keep in shape on the inside")

That "on the inside" is referring to the ORGAN of ORGANISE.

David's talk is about the phrases "Parthian shot" and "Pyrrhic victory".

Round 4: C G A S R E U T H

Interesting choice of a final consonant here; I was keen for a vowel, particularly the O that it would have been.  I was thinking of COUGARS / COURAGE (and might have angsted over COURAGES), but later noticed that OUTRAGES would have been better.  Anyway, with the mix as it was I had CRAGS, GRACES, and ARCHEST.  After time I noted CHASTER as another seven, and quite some time later (around an hour, I think it was) found the eight of GAUCHEST.

Once more the contestants are evenly matched; this time they have found GATHERS for seven.  David has chosen CHARGES as his seven.  I shall somewhat unfairly feel smug for finding a longer word than David, even though it took me an extra hour than he had.

The other sevens are GAUCHER, RATCHES (as I mentioned in the recent episode 265, RATCH is a variation of RATCHET), and CURATES / CAUTERS (CAUTER being a variation of CAUTERY: "an escharotic substance or a hot iron used to destroy tissue").

Anushan: GATHERS

Scores: Anushan 20, Brydon 30, me 30

Round 5: N P O N A D E T A

I had POND and PENDANT.  I wondered about PANTONE (not valid), and wished that the final vowel had been an E for DEPONENT.

Brydon has found PANNED for six, but Anushan has done well to find PENDANT for seven.  So finally the contestants declare a different result; thanks to Anushan's error in round 3, though, it has the affect of bringing the scores closer together.  A good find by him, in any case.  David has gone with NOTEPAD as his seven.

The other seven is ANDANTE.  David went checking for something in the dictionary during the round, and it was pretty clear that he was looking in the middle of the A section.  So I'm guessing that he saw this but for some reason refrained from mentioning it..  The other sixes are TANNED, PEDANT / PANTED / PENTAD ("a period of five years"), DONATE / ATONED, TENDON, APNOEA, and ADNATE ("grown fast to something; congenitally attached").

It's been tough going trying to get away from the contestants so far, thanks to my miss in round one.  But finally I have a little breathing space over them both (although not nearly enough to be comfortable).

Anushan: PENDANT
Brydon: PANNED

Scores: Anushan 27, Brydon 30, me 37

Round 6: Target 466 from 75 8 10 5 7 4

The standard method suggests working from 6*75, but for some reason I ignored that.  I kept searching for options, and then realised that time was running out.  I had to scramble to get something down, and started with 5*8*10 to get to 400.  I was convinced I would have to settle for just getting close, with the intent to follow up by adding 75.  Quite fortunately for me, however, I realised that my start could tweak to a full solution: 466 = (5*8 + 7)*10 - 4.  I was very lucky here.

After time I looked at the standard method, and 10 - 4 makes the 6, leaving the task of getting 16, or simply close, with the rest.  A little thought produced the alternative solution 466 = (10 - 4)*75 + 8*(7 - 5).  Moving further afield, I looked at working up from 375; the difference is 91, and that also worked out: 466 = 5*75 + 8*10 + 7 + 4.

Both contestants are writing right up to the point when time runs out.  Brydon surprises me a little by having nothing to declare; I guess he had a similar kind of issue that I did, of chasing after lines of approach that do not quite work out.  Anushan takes his chance with a one-off 465 = (10 - 4)*75 + 8 + 7, and gets the lead for the first time tonight.  Lily has found the same solution that I did, but I imagine she got there more quickly.

Brydon's miss here puts me comfortably ahead at last; I was starting to get a little concerned, I'll admit.

Anushan: 465
Brydon: [not in range]
Me: 466
Lily: 466

Scores: Anushan 27 (34), Brydon 30, me 47

Second break: FADE NICE ("Break the engagement")

This clue is hinting at DE-FIANCÉ, or DEFIANCE.

Round 7: R P I C O Y A T E

This round hurts a bit.  I had CROP, APRICOT, OPACITY, and ECTOPIA ("the morbid displacement of a bodily organ or part").  I spent too long looking at the Y; immediately when time ran out I discarded it and saw OPERATIC for eight.  Of course, once I saw it I wondered how I had missed it.  Such is life.  I also noted other sevens of TOPIARY and PICRATE.

There's lots of sixes to be had here, but Anushan partially undoes his good work in the previous round by only having CRATE for five.  Brydon has one of those sixes with PIRATE, taking the lead again.  David is on track, having found OPERATIC.

The other eight is APYRETIC ("free from fever").  The other sevens are PYRETIC ("of, relating to, affected by, or producing fever"), EROTICA, PAROTIC ("situated about or near the ear"), and PARETIC ("someone who has general paresis").

Anushan: CRATE
Brydon: PIRATE

Scores: Anushan 27 (34), Brydon 30 (36), me 54

Round 8: Target 127 from 100 75 4 6 2 10

With only one odd number, the goal is to make this as either 52 + 75 or 202 - 75.  I went with the first option, finding 127 = 75 + 6*10 - 2*4.  After time I got the second option to work with 127 = 2*100 + 6 - 4 - 75.  The other option when there is a shortage of odd numbers is to get to twice (or four times, etc.) the target and divide; in this case, 254/2 is an approach worth considering.  I got that to work with 127 = ((100 - 75)*10 + 4)/2.

It's not always easy to deal with an odd target with mostly even numbers.  It needs a little care at the outset, I feel, to put one of those odd numbers aside and focus on the new target (or targets).  They have both got to one away with 126, keeping the contest close.  Brydon went with 126 = 100 + 2*10 + 6, while Anushan went with 126 = 6*4 + 2 + 100.  Lily has gone with 127 = 2*100 - 75 + 6 - 4 (which is essentially the same as the second solution that I listed).

Anushan: 126
Brydon: 126
Me: 127
Lily: 127

Scores: Anushan 27 (41), Brydon 30 (43), me 64


Down to the conundrum, and Richard points out that this is the third time in a row for Anushan that the conundrum has mattered.  I'll further note that in the first game he was tied going into the conundrum, in the second he was in front, and this time he is behind.  Variety, but maybe not the kind he wants.

Anyway, it took me a little under four seconds to pull out the FIRE fragment and so find the answer of FIREPLACE.  The contestants are not so fortunate -- the F is kind of a troublesome letter in this mix -- and time runs out with neither solving it.  That gives Brydon a rather narrow win, and the trend continues of contestants failing to get past the third game.

Anushan: [no answer]
Brydon: [no answer]

Scores: Anushan 27 (41), Brydon 30 (43), me 74

There really was very little to choose between the contestants tonight.  Anushan's invalid answer in the first numbers round was arguably what cost him the game; the adjustment to Brydon's solution should have been feasible to find if Anushan had realised that he had used a number twice.  Of course, Brydon might well have done better in the second numbers round, so there's all sorts of counterfactuals to be had.  Regardless, it was another enjoyably close game.

That very careless miss in round one threw me off a bit, and with both contestants playing well I thought I might be in a bit of trouble.  Fortunately I came home strongly -- despite a similar miss in round 7 -- and solved the conundrum to keep the margin high.  If I'd just been a little faster in the first and last letters rounds I could have matched David throughout.  Still, good results.


Mike Backhouse said...

I had a very ordinary game, sadly.

SOILED (Geoff, speaking of MISLED, I often have a bit of a chuckle when I see people like TV presenters reading off the autocue pronouncing it 'MYZLED')
TOKEN (was distracted by the invalid TOLKIEN)
Brydon's way
(10-4)*(75+8-5)=468 (2 off)
wasn't sure whether to go for COATER or RECOAT. I went for the latter
100+2*120+6=126 (1 off)

Mike Backhouse said...

Transcription error in last numbers game. 120 should not have the 2 in it.

Sam G said...

I like Brydon's cricket writing. In 2011, he hadn't had his big $307k game show payday yet. Of which I'm not jealous in the slightest...

Anushan was a good contestant, just the mistake in Round 3 preventing him from beating an eventual finalist.

I had the same hits and misses on the letter rounds as Geoff.

1. FOILED. Sixes galore here.
2. OUTLINE. Actually wrote TWINKLE as a possible, then forgot about it.
3. 321 = (8 + 5)*25 - 8/2
6. one off: 465 = (75-8)*7 - 4. Was sure 469 would be a safe starting point, but I couldn't get the last 3.
Soon saw 466 = (10-4)*75 + 8*(7-5)
7. APRICOT. I also missed OPERATIC in my Ep400 Rd7.
8. 127 = 75 + 6*10 - 2*4 or 100 + (75+6)*2/(10-4). Better: 75 + (100+4)/2.
9. FIREPLACE - 16.8s

Emily said...

I played along last night! With kids hanging off me, so I got the conundrum at 31 seconds, but given the screaming and me missing the letters for the five seconds, I'm paying it to myself.

FOILED (I thought I was missing an obvious seven and could hear DA saying how the letters had FOILED me)
TWINKLE (had TINKLE early on, added the W just before time)
Brydon and Lily's way
5*8*10+75-7=468(2 off - while doing it I saw Lily's way, but didn't get it down in time)
- DEFIANCE made me laugh because when I first saw the film title o the same name, I wondered if it was about a broken engagement -
FIREPLACE - depending on interpretation of the rules in your own very noisy home

Sam G said...

Just lock the kids in whichever room has the least amount of lethal objects.

Emily said...

Haha, thanks Sam! But they'd quickly become lethal objects themselves. Separate rooms, perhaps...

Mike Backhouse said...

How strict were the producers in enforcing the 30s pens down, when you were almost finished writing down the answer, particularly the numbers? A few seconds leeway perhaps?

Sam G said...

Not that strict, Mike. I went a second or so overtime getting a word down in Ep400 Rd2, without censure.

I saw Richard on TV get a little stern with one repeat offender. I can't remember a name or which episode, but the contestant had been writing quite late on more than one number round, and then taking a bit of time to work out what answer to declare.

Geoff Bailey said...

There does seem to be general leeway; we've seen it a few times already in these re-runs. I think I went a bit over once myself, on a very last-moment spot. The Countdown approach of not requiring answers to be written down makes this problem go away, but introduces others in its place. I'm still not sure which side I come down on.

I only recall one instance that I thought beyond the pale. I can't locate it easily, and my memory is not entirely reliable, but I seem to recall a contestant being asked for their declaration and then very clearly writing something down on the pad after giving it.

Sam G said...

Not to be a dobber, but I think you're referring to Kashi, Geoff. I didn't notice it, but some commenters mentioned it.

Geoff Bailey said...

Ah, yes, that was it; impressive memory, Sam. The incident took place in round 5 of episode 24, and it was very strange. Time ran out, people stopped writing, Richard asked her what she had, and she said she had a seven, a little uncertainly. Then, shielding the pad with one hand, she wrote down two letters with the other. Her whole body language came across as somewhat duplicitous, and I can't exactly fathom it given the word that she ended up declaring.